Pepsi Yanks Rapper Ludacris from Ads
Pepsi-Cola of North America announced this week that it was pulling from the air its 30-second TV spots featuring rapper Ludacris in reaction to customer complaints that his lyrics are offensive, reports Reuters.
"We have a responsibility to listen to our consumers and customers and we've heard from a number of people that were uncomfortable with our association with this artist," the No. 2 soft-drink company says in a statement, adding, "We're sorry that we've offended anyone." (Coca-Cola is No. 1.)
The ad, which was reportedly part of a new campaign to attract younger, urban soda drinkers, featured Ludacris, 24, in a seemingly deserted house that is actually alive with a party. During the spot, Ludacris announces that the taste of Pepsi is " driving me insane."
But Ludacris apparently also drives Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly insane; earlier this week the host of "The O'Reilly Factor" called Pepsi "immoral" for employing the rapper (whose lyrics include observations about "ho's" in "different area codes") and urged a Pepsi boycott.
A spokeswoman for Def Jam, the rap star's label, tells Reuters that she was "shocked" to learn the beverage company was pulling the ads.
Not that Ludacris is totally out on the street: According to the Hollywood Reporter, he's he's just joined the cast of "The Fast and the Furious 2" for director John Singleton.